March 25, 2017
Of the U K‘s population of over 64 million, the representatives of a small percentage receive a disproportionate amount of media coverage. I am, of course referring to the Scots. With a population of around 5.3 million they represent 8.26 % of the U K. Their representatives, the SNP were voted in by less than 5% of the U K population and yet they never seem to be off our televisions. Maybe the representatives of the North of England or London or the West Country should speak out more.
The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence was decisive and there has hardly been a majority of Scots wanting independence since. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, claims that because the majority of Scots voted to remain in the E U, the SNP have the right to call for a new referendum.
There’s a conundrum here: The majority of Scots don’t want independence but they vote in large numbers for SNP candidates at Westminster and Holyrood who are obsessed with gaining independence. The answer is that the canny Scots believe that the SNP will squeeze the rest of the U K for an increasingly large subsidy in order to buy off demands for independence. In 2015-16, Spending was £1,200 more per head in Scotland than in the rest of the U K whilst taxes raised were £400 lower per head. The average Scot can see that independence will lead to economic disaster.
The SNP believe that post Brexit, they can somehow continue their E U membership when the rest of the U K leaves. We all know that the Spanish, for one, will vehemently oppose an independent Scotland achieving membership because of the fear that the Catalans and other small regions will want to follow the Scottish example.
Part of me wants Scotland to achieve independence in order to see what would happen: Over five hundred jobs will be lost at Faslane. Scottish financial institutions with most of their customer base in England will move jobs out of Scotland. There will have to be a hard border between England and Scotland in order to control the flow of Eastern European immigrants into England. Scotland in the E U will have its fisheries with a much higher density of European boats fishing there because E U boats will denied access to fishing in English, Welsh and Northern Irish waters. Scotland will be denied use of the pound and will have to issue its own currency. The Scottish government will try to attract companies to relocate north of the border in order to boost their economy. They could follow the Irish Republic’s example and reduce corporation tax to 12.5% on trading income. The problem there is that the Irish already have the companies that will move for that incentive and the Scots will have to engage in a low ball competition with the Irish to attract companies. Meanwhile the Scots will be in desperate need for tax revenues, making the previous proposition impossible.
An independent Scotland, denied access to the E U and its funding and denied its subsidies from England would not be able to raise money on world markets at acceptable rates. I suspect that if Scotland gained independence, it would be begging to re-join the rest of the U K within five years. It would cause a lot of disruption, but at least it would shut up Nicola Sturgeon.